I’d love to say that I’m the parent that teaches my kids gratitude all year long. I mean, we talk about it a bit. They aren’t heathens! However, gratitude seems to come to the forefront of my mind even more than usual during the holiday season.
So, as any guilt ridden mother would do, I POUR ON the importance of giving back, being generous, and having gratitude just as we roll into the Thanksgiving week.
This takes a bit of perspective-tweaking for my kids, since their main concern most of the time is if they can earn more Xbox time to play Fortnite.
Here are 5 ways I have taught (and keep teaching) my boys to have a better perspective and practice gratitude:
- We create “blessing bags” and keep them in the car. When we come across someone who is homeless, we give them a blessing bag. (Bags include: hygiene products, socks, and $5-$10 gift card.)
- They visit the Oregon Food Bank with their dad to help pack boxes.
- We take stock of what they have and what, if anything, they truly need for Christmas. They have been amazingly keen on the fact that they really don’t need more stuff. This allows us to have a bigger budget to buy gifts for the various giving trees we like to sponsor.
- We talk about what it would be like to be homeless. I know it sounds a little dramatic, but it brings up so many questions and deeper discussions about how people live. You can see their brains working and their gratitude growing. Sometimes it also spurs more ideas on how we can help.
- We spend more intentional time with our family. We visit the family we rarely see and the cell phones get put away! They ask questions to create conversation and walk away with a new story from a completely different perspective. This is becoming more frequent into our gratitude practice now that my boys are older and can carry on a in depth conversation.
**Here are other ways you can get involved in the Portland area: Show Love**
While some of these make more sense around the holidays, I know I could make a better effort to remind them of the ways we can take pause and be so thankful for all that we have throughout the year. As they get older, they understand the importance of our gratitude practice and some of it does trickle into their daily lives… bit by bit! #winning
I hope this article will give you some ideas for your holiday and inspire you to do better in reminding your children that this world is full of people in need. Let’s give thanks for what we have and give back to those who could use our help. It’s a loving practice for the entire family.